Facebook has once again announced major changes to the network. This time, focusing on the news feed. What’s different? In short: bigger images, multiple feeds, and a clean, mobile-inspired design.
What do these changes mean for brands and marketers? While it’s unclear yet exactly how these changes will affect brand content and pages long term, here are some takeaways for social media managers to keep in mind.
1. The news feed has gone visual. Images will now appear much larger (you will no longer have to click on a picture in order to see the entire image), and make up nearly 50 percent of news feed stories. Photos will also be more prominent as the news feed will no longer be flanked on both sides with text columns. While the similarities to Google+ may have been a little surprising, the emphasis on visuals is not. Images are becoming more important than ever in creating successful, shareable brand content.
2. Content will be sorted into seven different feeds. This functionality categorizes information into tabs so that users can more easily access the updates and information in which they’re interested. For example, there’s a “Photos” feed that only displays–you guessed it–other users’ recently added photos.
There is also a “Following” feed that gives users updates from all the pages and public figures they “Like.” Whether this functionality will enable brand content to be seen by more people has yet to be seen, but this feed is a dedicated space where consumers can go to get information about the brands they follow on Facebook–good news for marketers. (Brand updates will also appear in the “Most Recent” updates feed.)
3. More information on brand pages will be displayed in the news feed. Currently in the news feed, Facebook shows users which brand pages their friends follow; and the more of a user’s friends that “Like” a certain brand page, the more likely it is that Facebook will suggest the user “Like” it as well. The redesign displays more information about a page when it shows up in a user’s news feed. For page managers, this translates to: more information will appear when users are deciding whether or not to “Like” your page, so be sure your brand information is updated appropriately!
4. Some things have stayed the same. In the press conference this afternoon, Mark Zuckerberg stated that nothing about Facebook’s algorithms has changed. So, if a bunch of a user’s friends share or “Like” the same thing, that content will be front and center on that user’s news feed. This reiterates the importance of creating engaging brand content for social channels.
Of course, the underlying assumption about this redesign is that with the creation of seven different feeds, Facebook has created way more space for targeted ads (and it’s no coincidence that ads also appear more prominently in the new news feed). However, that doesn’t mean all businesses on Facebook must turn to paid advertising. Creative and engaging content will share itself, and is still the most valuable type of buzz a brand can hope to achieve on Facebook.